6.1 In co-operation with FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, the award is presented to the European director(s) (see 1.6) of a first full-length European feature film intended for theatrical release. Furthermore, the criteria whereby a film qualifies as European based upon the Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (CETS No. 220) (see 2.4) apply.

    6.2 Films taken into consideration must have had their first official screening (be it at a festival, at a regular cinema or online) between 1 June 2023 and 31 May 2024. The Academy Board has the right to refrain from this rule in exceptional cases.

    6.3 To be eligible, the main production country of a film has to be European (see 1.5) and the film has to fulfil at least one of the following criteria:

    – To have been awarded at least at one major festival (see  list of festivals)
    – To have been selected at least once for competition plus two other sections by at least three major festivals
    – To have been theatrically released in at least three countries or sold for such release

    6.4 Films must be submitted by their rights-holders and made available for viewing to the nomination committee. The submitted version has to be the original language version with English subtitles (for accessibility reasons this is also mandatory for English-language films).

    Submission deadline for debut feature films is 31 May 2024.

    6.5 A committee composed of members of FIPRESCI and experts appointed by the Academy Board nominates six films in this category, 50% of which are to be directed by female and/or non-binary directors.

    6.6 The nominated films are announced four to eight weeks prior to the European Film Awards Ceremony and are made available for viewing to the Academy Members who vote for the winner.

    6.7 The votes are kept by a notary or an auditor. The winner is announced during the European Film Awards Ceremony.